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The Education Ministry yesterday rejected the request of Sderot Mayor Eli Moyal to end the school year in the town immediately.

Directors of the southern district at the Education Ministry discussed the matter yesterday. They decided that the damages incurred by ending the school year now would exceed the benefits.

"Pedagogically speaking, it is neither appropriate nor correct to end the school year in Sderot now. There has never been a case where the school year ended a month early," Education Minister Yuli Tamir said. "There will be no benefit if the pupils sit in an unprotected home, bored and frightened. The teachers continue to give assignments to the pupils, and there are marathon sessions in locations outside the town in preparation for the matriculation exams. The public school system has not stopped functioning because of the crisis. We are under no illusions that if Qassams fall near the pupils they will continue their routine without interruption, but we are trying to offer the best possible solutions."

The minister pointed out that the rise in the number of pupils who pass their matriculation exams in Sderot proves that the educational efforts are meeting their targets.

The Education Ministry has also promised to offer activities during the summer holiday in Sderot, Tamir said.

Meanwhile, Sderot pupils still in town yesterday were bused to nearby communities for several hours in order to spend time in places not threatened by Qassam rockets.